“I’m allowed to say things other people aren’t and I’ve never been clearly on the left or right,” he told me. “If I was going to put myself on a political map, I skew more towards populism socially and left on economic things. But also I’m very sensitive to the kinds of things libertarians criticize about government overreach. I’m kind of a mess ideologically, really,” he laughs.
As it happens, a plurality of Americans reside in almost precisely the same headspace—supportive of New Deal-like interventionism, but not at all thrilled with strange elite belief systems like the social construction of gender and critical race theory. While this portion of the electorate has grown tremendously, it hasn’t seen much in the way of mainstream or national political representation.
As the ethnic makeup of America changes, it turns out that ethnic minorities tend to embrace the ideological pairing of the New Deal’s vital center—social democratic economic preferences combined with social traditionalism—even more than the “white working class,” a moniker that serves as cover for long-standing WASP disdain for all working people and the working poor, including those of non-European origin.
“I wouldn’t put things the way you do,” Al-Gharbi said kindly, a statement that is undoubtedly true, and likely speaks to virtues that he possesses and I lack. “When I was attacked, I became really motivated to reach people in a new way. I wanted to understand how people who didn’t know me could believe such insane things about who I am, what I’m about, and what I’m trying do. I’m always trying to frame my work in terms of other people’s values, but I’m never disingenuous about it. I never say or write things I don’t believe. Rather, I say things I do believe but in another way.”
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor